3 Interview Lines That Make Recruiters Roll Their Eyes

Interviewing can be rough. That’s why people often suggest you have a few tried-and-true lines to pull out of your back pocket. And while I have a feeling that some of those suggestions were terrible, there were surely others that made you think that you had come across the silver bullet answer that would get you every job you wanted.

But when I became a recruiter, I realized just how common some of these so-called magical phrases were. To some degree, it was fun to keep a running tally of how many times I heard certain line during interviews. To another degree, it got stale pretty fast.

Because I’m rooting for you to actually land your next job, I think it’s time we talk about some of the most common answers that make recruiters roll their eyes.

1. “Stressed? Not Me! It Takes a Lot to Get Me Rattled at Work”

Companies only want employees who stay cool under pressure even if the ceiling is literally collapsing onto them, right? I can’t speak for all recruiters, but in my experience, I knew someone was trying to get one over on me when they said that it would take a literal hurricane for them to feel frazzled by anything at work. In my experience, even the coolest customers come across something in their career that stresses them out. And the good news is that it’s perfectly normal.

Many recruiters I know are more interested in learning about how you deal with stressful situations at work, and less concerned with finding people who have never experienced an ounce of anxiety in their lives.

So rather than trying to convince recruiters that you’re completely unfazed by everything, walk them through a scenario in which you were dealt a tough hand at work, how you dealt with it, and what lessons you’d apply next time.

It sounds like this:

“In a previous job, I was assigned an unexpected task—on top of a few other projects that were beyond my skill set. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about how to get it all done, and get it done well. But I worked with my boss to re-prioritize my to-do list to make sure I was working on the right things in the right order. ”

2. “I Singlehandedly Saved My Last Company From Bankruptcy and Made Everyone Rich!”

You should be proud of the things you achieved in previous gigs. But you make hiring managers roll their eyes when you try to oversell their impact during an interview. Of course it’s important not to undersell the things you accomplished. However, if you try to convince a recruiter that a report you created made your company one trillion dollars, expect to get some skepticism in return.

Instead be honest about the scale and the impact. A good answer sounds like this:

“I’m really proud of a report I created that added insights into new business opportunities. With help from my two colleagues, I discovered that there was untapped potential in a vertical we hadn’t even considered before. As a result, we increased our revenue by 25% last quarter.”